2013-03-28 / News

UPEC awards program grants

Environmental group focuses on education


A group of children stop to listen to a park ranger during a recent snowshoe outing. Activities like this were recently supported with grant money from UPEC. 
Courtesy photo A group of children stop to listen to a park ranger during a recent snowshoe outing. Activities like this were recently supported with grant money from UPEC. Courtesy photo MARQUETTE – The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition recently awarded six environmental education grants totaling $2,700 to support area programs aimed at connecting adults with youths in order to deepen knowledge, appreciation, and stewardship of the region.

UPEC’s support is part of an environmental education partnership that includes community organizations, foundations, state and federal resource management agencies, universities, K-12 school districts, intermediate school districts, and other nonprofit environmental advocacy groups.

Other grant recipients include: MooseWood Nature Center, Michigan Tech’s Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, Michigan State University Extension Service in Alger County, Clear Lake Education Center near Escanaba, and the Western U.P. Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education (affiliated with the Copper County ISD).

“Often, programs designed to get youth outdoors and connected with nature frequently draw on either game-type activities or science investigations,” Clear Lake educater Mimi Klotz explained. “While it is good to engage bodies and minds in these ways, by adding an artistic/creative element, we can draw on the hearts, spirits, and imaginations of our youth, amplify the connections created, and help develop an empathy and passion for nature. Experiencing the U.P.’s natural resources, through environmental education, outdoor recreation, and artistic creation at Clear Lake Education Center, will give our youth much to draw from.”

UPEC funding helps youth participate in activities like snowshoeing.

“On an application from Manistique, one teacher wrote that most of the elementary students that he wanted to take outdoors for a hands-on science lesson had never been on snowshoes before,” UPEC board member Connie Sherry explained. “We thought that Yooper children should certainly have an opportunity to learn to snowshoe as well as have the science lessons.”

“Emerald Elementary fourth and fifth grade students are so fortunate to have the support of the UPEC,” Manistique physical education teacher Chris Marana said. “Snowshoeing is such a great winter activity and, thanks to the UPEC, our students were able to experience our local environmental lab to learn about winter animal tracking while engaging in a life-long winter activity. These type of “handson” educational activities help remind students of the amazing resources available in the Upper Peninsula.”

For more information on UPEC, visit www.upenvironment.org.

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